By the time Haiti was but a few hours old on CNN, the rest of the world had forgotten about Padang. And Manila, Kompong Thom, Savannakhet, Quang Nam, and southern Taiwan… All of those places slammed by Typhoons and small tsunamis and earthquakes last fall. ...Good coordination, straightforward response by the right agencies, lack of celebrities, shortage of well-meaning interveners, no peanut gallery or politicians to play for ... just professionals helping people.
I’m also impressed with how well the overall response has gone. Not that everything in Padang is fabulous. But amazing progress has been made in the nine or so months since the earthquake.
No, the Padang earthquake response ran the old-fashioned way: professional aid organizations, whether international, local or governmental, planned and then implemented a straightforward emergency response. They figured out what the earthquake survivors needed by asking them, and then got them that – not something like the thing that they wanted, not something altogether different but that could, with some imagination, be used in place of what they needed… No, simply got them what they needed in the most direct and efficient manner possible.
And you can tell. The people I talked to today were happy about how things had gone and were going, the terrible disaster of last September notwithstanding. They expressed hope.
That’s the way you do emergency response.